Thursday, October 8, 2015

New Book: Poetry and Fairy Tales: Language Arts Units for Gifted Students in Grade 3

Poetry and Fairy Tales: Language Arts Units for Gifted Students in Grade 3 by Amy Price Azano (Author), Tracy Missett (Author), Carolyn Callahan (Author) was released in September.

Book description:

The CLEAR curriculum, developed by the University of Virginia's National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented, is an evidence-based teaching model that emphasizes Challenge Leading to Engagement, Achievement, and Results. In Poetry and Fairy Tales: Language Arts Units for Gifted Students in Grade 3 students will read and analyze various forms of poetry and write their own poetry anthology. They will learn how to identify and use figurative language to create concrete images from abstract ideas. In the fairy tales unit, students will study fairy tales and folklore to understand how and why societal norms and mores are culturally transmitted. These units focus on critical literacy that includes reading diverse sources, understanding bias and cultural contexts, and creating informed consumers of information.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Cozy Fairy Tale Mystery: Once Upon a Grind (A Coffeehouse Mystery) by Cleo Coyle

Once Upon a Grind (A Coffeehouse Mystery) by Cleo Coyle was released in paperback in September. I missed it when it was released in hardcover last December. It is the 14th book in this popular cozy mystery series and draws on fairy tale themes for the mystery this time. I haven't seen much fun made with coffee beans and Jack and the Beanstalk before. Rather surprising considering the popularity of coffee these days.

Book description:

Fresh Pick - Fresh Fiction
Top Pick - RT Book Reviews
A Best Books of the Year Pick - Kings River Life Magazine

From the New York Times bestselling author of Billionaire Blend comes an enchanting new entry in the "satisfyingly rich" Coffeehouse Mystery series.

Includes wicked good recipes. When coffeehouse manager turned amateur sleuth Clare Cosi serves "magic" beans for a Fairy Tale Fall event, she brews up a vision that leads to a sleeping beauty in Central Park; a big, bad wolf of Wall Street; and an East Side enclave with storybook secrets...

Fairy tale fever has descended on New York City. Broadway fans are flocking to Red Riding Hood: The Musical; museums are exhibiting art inspired by the Brothers Grimm; and Clare Cosi and her merry band of baristas give their coffee truck a "Jack and the Beanstalk" makeover for a Central Park festival. Clare's coffee hunter ex-husband contributes a bag of African beans with alleged magical properties. His octogenarian mother entertains customers with readings of the grinds, but Clare remains skeptical--until she receives a vision that helps her find a young model's body in the park's woods.

The police dismiss "sleeping beauty" as the victim of a drug overdose. Then Clare uncovers evidence that points to a list of suspects--from a New York Giant to quite a few wicked witches--and a cold case murder that reaches back to the Cold War. Now Clare is really in the woods with a dangerous predator on her heels and an investigation that leads from a secret Prince Charming Club right back to her own NYPD detective boyfriend. If she doesn't solve this mystery, those magic beans predict an unhappy ending.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

New Book: Cinderella's Shoes by Shonna Slayton

Cinderella's Shoes by Shonna Slayton is released this week. The book is the sequel to Cinderella's Dress which was released last year. The description for this new title has a little Warehouse 13 or The Librarians vibe to it but in a historical fiction setting.

Book description:

The war may be over, but Kate Allen's life is still in upheaval. Not only has she discovered that Cinderella was real, but now she's been made Keeper of the Wardrobe, her sole responsibility to protect Cinderella's mystical dresses from the greed of the evil stepsisters' modern descendants.

But Cinderella's dresses are just the beginning. It turns out that the priceless glass slippers might actually exist, too, and they could hold the power to reunite lost loved ones like her father-missing in action since World War II ended. As Kate and her boyfriend, Johnny, embark on an adventure from New York to Italy and Poland in search of the mysterious slippers, they will be tested in ways they never imagined.

Because when you harness Cinderella's magic, danger and evil are sure to follow...

Monday, October 5, 2015

New Book: Feathers, Paws, Fins, and Claws: Fairy-Tale Beasts (Series in Fairy-Tale Studies)

Feathers, Paws, Fins, and Claws: Fairy-Tale Beasts (Series in Fairy-Tale Studies) edited by Professor Christine A. Jones and Jennifer Schacker is a new September release. I received a review copy so I can actually review this one with some confidence, too.

Feathers, Paws, Fins, and Claws: Fairy-Tale Beasts (Series in Fairy-Tale Studies) is part of the Series in Fairy-Tale Studies from Wayne State University Press. It's a new and different kind of release in the series which has had a strong academic focus until this book. This book has an academic foundation, never fear, but it is more suitable for a larger audience with a wider age range. In other words, this one fits comfortably on an academic shelf or an older kid's bookshelf. I say older, perhaps 8-10 and up since the tales are longer (most aren't suitable length for a bedtime story, for example) and the content is more mature--not adult or unsuitable for kids, per se, just older themes. With that said, I should quote the introduction that says:

This volume of vintage tales was conceived especially for readers beyond childhood, those at an age when fairy tales may not appear to have much to offer and who therefore stand to be charmed by characters and plots they did not expect to find interesting.

But young readers will be drawn to the book, too, since it is beautifully presented.

There are 10 tales following the title's theme as well as an endnoted Introduction to suit the needs of someone with a more focused interest on the material. There is no index. It is also illustrated by Lina Kusaite and designed to be more visually pleasing than the standard academic tone. In truth, the book looks more suited to the children's folklore section and could easily end up there in bookstores. It will make a nice gift book for young and older folklore fans with an unusual line-up of tales. While The Three Bears is going to be the most familiar tale, it is still different since Goldilocks is no where to be found, just her antecedent "little Old Woman," known in some versions as Silverlocks, actually.

You can click on these illustrations to view them larger and read the titles.

So overall, this is a beautiful book and it will make a nice gift or a fine addition to your own library of folktales. The ten tales included are:

Ballad of the Bird-Bride
The Story of the Three Bears
The Rat's Wedding
Nanina's Sheep
Constantino Fortunato
East o' the Sun, West o' the Moon
The Snake-Skin
Prince Cheri
The Maiden and the Fish

I was familiar with most of these--a few have appeared in SurLaLune collections actually--"The Maiden and the Fish" is in Cinderella Tales From Around the World and "East o' the Sun, West o' the Moon" and "The Snake-Skin" are in Beauty and the Beast Tales From Around the World. Which also gives you a clue as to what tale types those fit into. "Constantino Fortunato" is an early Puss in Boots.

Book description:

A wide variety of creatures walk, fly, leap, slither, and swim through fairy-tale history. Some marvelous animal characters are deeply inscribed in current popular culture—the beast redeemed by beauty, the wolf in pursuit of little girls and little pigs, the frog prince released from enchantment by a young princess. But like the adventures of many fairy-tale heroes, a curious reader’s exploration in the genre can yield surprises, challenges, and unexpected rewards. Feathers, Paws, Fins, and Claws: Fairy-Tale Beasts presents lesser-known tales featuring animals both wild and gentle who appear in imaginative landscapes and enjoy a host of surprising talents. With striking original illustrations by artist Lina Kusaite and helpful introductions by fairy-tale scholars Jennifer Schacker and Christine A. Jones, the offbeat, haunting stories in this collection are rich and surprisingly relevant, demanding creative reading by audiences aged young adult and up.

Schacker and Jones choose stories that represent several centuries and cultural perspectives on how animals think and move. In these ten stories, rats are just as seductive as Little Red Riding Hood’s wolf; snakes find human mates; and dancing sheep and well-mannered bears blur the line between human and beast. Stories range in form from literary ballads to tales long enough to be considered short stories, and all are presented as closely as possible to their original print versions, reflecting the use of historical spelling and punctuation. Beasts move between typical animal behavior (a bird seeking to spread its wings and fly or a clever cat artfully catching its prey) and acts that seem much more human than beastly (three fastidious bears keeping a tidy home together or a snake inviting itself to the dinner table). Kusaite’s full-color artwork rounds out this collection, drawing imaginatively on a wide range of visual traditions—from Inuit design to the work of the British Arts and Crafts movement.

Together with the short introductions to the tales themselves, the illustrations invite readers to rediscover the fascinating world of animal fairy tales. All readers interested in storytelling, fairy-tale history, and translation will treasure this beautiful collection.

Jennifer Schacker is associate professor of English at University of Guelph and author of National Dreams: The Remaking of Fairy Tales in Nineteenth-Century England.

Christine A. Jones is associate professor of French at the University of Utah and author of Shapely Bodies: The Image of Porcelain in Eighteenth-Century France. Jones and Schacker are longtime collaborators and co-editors of Marvelous Transformations: An Anthology of Fairy Tales and Contemporary Critical Perspectives.

Lina Kusaite is an illustrator, designer, and art/life coach based in Brussels, Belgium. Her work has appeared in a wide range of international publications, computer games, and exhibitions, and was selected for display in Times Square as part of the 2014 "seemetakeover" event. Kusaite’s website is

Friday, October 2, 2015

Crafty Friday: Once Upon a Time . . . in Crochet by Lynne Rowe

Once Upon a Time . . . in Crochet: 30 Amigurumi Characters from Your Favorite Fairytales by Lynne Rowe was released earlier this year, July actually. These are quite cute--as always, the Princess and the Pea is my favorite. There wasn't a better image of Rapunzel other than the cover--I like her, too.

Book description:

This fun, quirky book contains 12 cute and whimsical fairy tale favorites, from Puss in Boots and the Ugly Duckling to Thumbelina and Rapunzel, using both amigurumi and standard crochet designs. The book also contains an easy-to-use step-by-step techniques section, showing the reader how to pin out their crochet pieces before assembling, make moving arms and legs and create a range of hairstyles.

You can click on these images to see them larger:

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Coundown Deal: Bluebeard Tales From Around the World for $1.99 in Ebook Format

(US/UK Covers with links)

Bluebeard Tales From Around the World (US Edition) and Bluebeard Tales From Around the World (UK Edition) are on sale for the next week and gradually increasing prices as part of an Amazon Countdown Deal. Today the books are at their lowest price--the US edition is $1.99--and the price will gradually rise over the next week--in something like 32 hour increments--until it reaches the usual price of $9.99 again.

Anyway, this is the lowest price ever offered on this book--the SurLaLune title I have had the most compliments on--so this is your chance to own a copy for a great price. You don't have to own a Kindle to read it. It is readable on the free Kindle software for your computer and other devices.

Bluebeard is a great October story with plenty of bloodshed and gore and tension and danger. Enjoy!

Book description:

The tale of Bluebeard with its many variants has a rich folkloric and literary history. It has often been retold and reinterpreted in modern times in novels, poetry, plays, movies and more. Once upon a time the character was better known and offered a larger cultural touchstone for the general population. Today he is best known only in literary circles. Consequently, the history of the tale as seen through its tales and other interpretations is fascinating. Offering over ninety tales and ballads, this collection compiles several variants of Bluebeard tales from around the world. Many of the tales are new translations, some appearing for the first time in English. Usually the stories are obviously related to each other and at other times the relationship is more tenuous. While tales from Europe dominate the collection, other parts of the world--including Africa, India, and North America--are well represented. Additionally, several plays and operas, as well as short fictions and poetry, all primarily from the nineteenth century, are offered here. The commercial value and diverse interpretations of this complex tale provide insight into our cultural past, present, and perhaps our future. Whether you are a student of folklore or an armchair enthusiast, this anthology offers a diverse array of tales with a unifying theme that both entertains and educates, all gathered for the first time in one helpful collection.

Robin McKinley Ebook Titles on Sale

It's a new month which means there is a new list for October Monthly Deals: Kindle Books for $3.99 or Less. I found a few books for me, but the squeeing came with two finds I didn't have in ebook yet--although the hardcovers have graced my shelves for years.

Robin McKinley has explored her favorite fairy tale (and mine)--Beauty and the Beast--in three different novels. The first, Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast, isn't on sale, but the other two are available this month for $1.99 in ebook format instead of the usual $5.99 to $8.99 price range. There are a few bonuses, too, listed below.

So you can get all four books listed below for about the price one is usually priced. Happiness abounds!

Book description for Sunshine:

Winner of the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature: In a world where darkness threatens, there is Sunshine . . .

Although it had been mostly deserted since the Voodoo Wars, there hadn’t been any trouble out at the lake for years. Rae Seddon, nicknamed Sunshine, head baker at her family’s busy and popular cafĂ© in downtown New Arcadia, needed a place to get away from all the noise and confusion—of the clientele and her family. Just for a few hours. Just to be able to hear herself think.

She knew about the Others, of course. Everyone did. And several of her family’s best regular customers were from SOF—Special Other Forces—which had been created to deal with the threat and the danger of the Others.

She drove out to her family’s old lakeside cabin and sat on the porch, swinging her feet and enjoying the silence and the silver moonlight on the water.

She never heard them coming. Of course, you don’t when they’re vampires.

Book description for Rose Daughter:

Award-winning author Robin McKinley returns to one of our most enduring fairy tales to tell an enthralling story of love and redemption

Once upon a time, a wealthy merchant had three daughters . . . and when the merchant’s business failed, he and his three daughters left their grand house in the city and moved to a tiny cottage buried deep in the countryside. The youngest daughter, Beauty, is fascinated by the long, thorny stems of an unknown plant that overwhelms the neglected cottage, and she tends it until, the following summer, its rich, fragrant flowers are the most glorious things the sisters have ever seen: roses.

An old woman tells Beauty: “Roses are for love. Not . . . silly sweethearts’ love but the love that makes you and keeps you whole. . . . There’s an old folk-tale . . . there aren’t many roses around any more because they need more love than people have to give ’em . . . and the only thing that’ll stand in for love is magic, though it ain’t as good.”

There’s no magic in the town of Longchance, but, the old woman adds, Beauty may not know that this is the result of a sorcerers’ battle that happened many years ago, a battle that left a monster, or perhaps a beast, in an enchanted palace somewhere in the deep forest . . . and a curse concerning a family of three sisters.

Bonus! The Hero and the Crown is also $1.99! I didn't have this in ebook yet either. I adored this book as a teen--I remember reading it for the first time when sick one day, pausing to run to the bathroom and then rushing back to resume reading, back and forth all day. This book was better than any other medicine to get me through a horrible day thirty years ago.

The sale price has also made this an instant #1 best seller on Amazon for Children's Girls & Women Books. Cool!

Book description for The Hero and the Crown:

In Robin McKinley’s Newbery Medal–winning novel, an outcast princess must earn her birthright as a hero of the realm

Aerin is an outcast in her own father’s court, daughter of the foreign woman who, it was rumored, was a witch, and enchanted the king to marry her.

She makes friends with her father’s lame, retired warhorse, Talat, and discovers an old, overlooked, and dangerously imprecise recipe for dragon-fire-proof ointment in a dusty corner of her father’s library. Two years, many canter circles to the left to strengthen Talat’s weak leg, and many burnt twigs (and a few fingers) secretly experimenting with the ointment recipe later, Aerin is present when someone comes from an outlying village to report a marauding dragon to the king. Aerin slips off alone to fetch her horse, her sword, and her fireproof ointment . . .

But modern dragons, while formidable opponents fully capable of killing a human being, are small and accounted vermin. There is no honor in killing dragons. The great dragons are a tale out of ancient history.

That is, until the day that the king is riding out at the head of an army. A weary man on an exhausted horse staggers into the courtyard where the king’s troop is assembled: “The Black Dragon has come . . . Maur, who has not been seen for generations, the last of the great dragons, great as a mountain. Maur has awakened.”

The Outlaws of Sherwood is also on sale again for $1.99. A Robin Hood retelling, this was on sale last year around this time, too, so I did have this one already in ebook (as well as hardcover, of course, a first edition).

Book description for The Outlaws of Sherwood:

The Robin Hood legend comes thrillingly alive in Robin McKinley’s reimagining of the classic adventure

Young Robin Longbow, subapprentice forester in the King’s Forest of Nottingham, must contend with the dislike of the Chief Forester, who bullies Robin in memory of his popular father. But Robin does not want to leave Nottingham or lose the title to his father’s small tenancy, because he is in love with a young lady named Marian—and keeps remembering that his mother too was gentry and married a common forester.

Robin has been granted a rare holiday to go to the Nottingham Fair, where he will spend the day with his friends Much and Marian. But he is ambushed by a group of the Chief Forester’s cronies, who challenge him to an archery contest . . . and he accidentally kills one of them in self-defense.

He knows his own life is forfeit. But Much and Marian convince him that perhaps his personal catastrophe is also an opportunity: an opportunity for a few stubborn Saxons to gather together in the secret heart of Sherwood Forest and strike back against the arrogance and injustice of the Norman overlords.